Just last month, in August of 2022, new legislation was introduced in the United States House of Representatives that aims to improve nursing home conditions and quality of life for residents. Brought to the House by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), there are two key bills that are part of her plan to improve nursing homes across the country. To better understand these, we’d like to offer some quick notes on this new legislation.
Linking Investors and Nursing Home Quality (LINHQ) Act
The first bill is titled the Linking Investors and Nursing Home Quality Act. According to Congresswoman Schakowsky, this new act would accomplish the following:
- Require nursing homes and parties with ownership interests to disclose ownership and financial information each year, down to the 5% ownership level. Non-compliance will result in a bar on new admissions and suspension of payments until compliance for reporting and quality metrics are met.
- Create a Data Liaison Team within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to identify patterns in nursing home ownership linked to nursing homes that do not comply with reporting; do not meet payroll-based journal levels of 4.1 direct care hours per resident, per day; or fail to meet quality standards set by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- Establish an Interagency Board to review poor quality nursing homes and nursing homes that are noncompliant with ownership reporting. The Interagency Board will determine which nursing homes should be referred to the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the Department of Justice for further investigation. The Interagency Board must also submit a biannual report to Congress on findings and the result from any referrals, including any reasons for not pursuing action.
- Amend demonstration language in the Affordable Care Act to fund national demonstration projects on culture change and the use of information technology in nursing homes.
Essentially, this act encourages complete transparency, allowing both citizens and government officials to identify poorly performing nursing homes – including those that do not comply with other laws and regulations – and hold the persons responsible accountable.
Infrastructure Modernization Project Related to the Overall Enhancement of Nursing Homes Act (IMPROVE Nursing Homes Act)
As stated on Congresswoman Schakowsky’s website, the IMPROVE Nursing Homes Act “will help change the culture and structure of nursing homes by dispensing funds to convert existing nursing homes into small-house nursing homes, which provide single-occupancy rooms and private bathrooms. Person-centered care provides residents dignified, quality care and living.”
The key to this bill is person-centered care. To achieve better care for all American citizens, Schakowsky has proposed a grant for nursing homes in financial need that are willing to overhaul their care models and housing options. Each grantee would need to prove that they will:
- Use the funding to convert existing nursing homes into small-house nursing homes that provide each resident with a single-occupancy room and private bathroom, in addition to other requirements;
- Consult with residents, families, long-term care ombudsmen, direct care nursing home workers, and a certified medical director on the planning and design of the small-house nursing home;
- Demonstrate and maintain high levels of person-centered care and practices;
- Comply with Davis Bacon labor requirements; and,
- Operate the small-house nursing home for a minimum of 20 years
Though this is a longer process, this could completely change the landscape of nursing home care, making it more personalized, need-specific, and better quality across the board.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of nursing home abuse, call Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) today for a free consultation and the best legal representation.